On the day of the General David ("ass kissing little chickenshit"---Adm Fallon, Commander of CENTCOM) Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker did their puppet show for Congress, my daughter, Carly, felt ill so we didn't get a chance to get there early enough to obtain one of the tickets for the miserly 37 seats that were allocated for the public in the hearing room.
Most of the people in the front of the line were good friends of mine who had arrived at about 8am and were patiently waiting to get in. I greeted everyone (including Rev. Lennox Yearwood) and went to the back of the line...I did a few interviews while waiting for the hearing to begin. Capitol Police handed out 37 "tickets" and skipped some people who had been waiting in the line. One of them was the Rev, who had gotten out of line to do an interview and had cleared it with one of the officers because he didn't want to lose his place in line.
My assistant and side-kick, Tiffany, took Carly down to the cafeteria to get a bite and a cold drink and before they left, Tiffany told me: "Two things, don't get out of line and don't get arrested while I am gone." We chuckled, because one never knows and after they had been gone for about 3 minutes, we could hear a scuffle at the beginning of the line and then someone shouted: "don't hurt him, he's a minister." Dede and I ran up to the front of the line, just in time to see the Rev on the ground with about a half a dozen Capitol Hill Police on top of him. Another shocking spectacle was there were about three dozen people in the line just watching Rev get the stuffing knocked out of him.
I tried to ascertain what was wrong and what the Rev had done that necessitated a beating like that and one of the Capitol Hill cops snidely said, "I don't know, I guess he fell."
I was arrested for shouting, "arrest Bush, not Rev," as was Dede(Tiffany and Carly were to join us soon enough for disrupting the hearing). No one joined us in our chant, and not one other person came forward to try and help the Rev. What is wrong with our country and what is wrong with our movement?
We have a (P)resident who says that cutting troops down to "pre-surge" levels in a year is a good "compromise" that everyone can live with and an "opposition" Speaker of the House who says that the Democrats will put forward a plan for a more "responsible" re-deployment (why can't someone just say, "withdrawal?") while giving the irresponsible BushCo more money to carry out their crimes with. It can't be both ways. The Congress has the power of the pocketbook and the Commander in Chief has the discretion to use that money anyway he wants. If Congress gives George more money, Congress is giving him its tacit approval to do whatever he wants with that money. Where will this next 141 billion dollars come from? Will higher taxes be levied on the Pelosis and Bush's of our nation? Where will all the troops come from that Bush is counting on having to keep the occupation going indefinitely? Will anyone have a name plate on a US uniform that says Pelosi or Bush? I kind of doubt it. There is nothing to constrain the neocons from another attack on Iran, either!
My second question is why were Dede and I the only activists in that line to rush to Rev's aide? And even if the three dozen or so people weren't activists or friends of Rev, why did they just stand around and watch the spectacle as if they were calmly watching an episode of "Cops" on the Fox Channel? The main difference being that Rev is not a half naked crack addict being popped for possession or domestic violence. He is a very patriotic, peaceful and courageous man in a collar who felt he had the right to be in the hearing after he had been standing in line for hours. Nothing he could have done that day would have deserved to be so harshly treated. Many of the Capitol Hill Police force are kind and try to not abuse citizens, but I don't understand how kind people can be enforcers for the fascist animals who are clearly taking our country down a path of destruction that is facilitated by mere "wage slaves" whose main defense is: "we're only doing our jobs."
We have basically a one party system here in the US. Yes, the Democrats will symbolically squawk about Bush's new idiotic plan to keep the war going until my grandchildren are old enough to be deployed to "Amer-Iraq" but they will dutifully lick his hand like abused dogs, roll over, and fund the continued insanity: the Dems remind me of Pomeranians hiding under the sofa, shaking, but barking like crazy while Rethugs steal our treasure blind. The Rethugs will use the reductions to say: "See we are working to change course in Iraq," and in the meantime people will keep dying or being dismembered or displaced while it is politics as usual here in our nation's capitol.
The only thing that will stop BushCo is when we the people put unbearable pressure on Congress, Inc. to de-fund the war and impeach the crooks.
We have marched the marches; signed the petitions; called, emailed and faxed our politicians; and the situation only becomes more desperate with each passing day.
It is time to put our bodies on the line so our children and grand-children and the children and grand-children of Iraq won't have to. The only thing that has ever made any kind of positive impact in this country is people power.
Civil disobedience started a Revolution and ended black-slavery in the South. Merely signing the Declaration of Indepence was a courageous act of CD and definitely being "engineers" on the Underground Railroad was a dangerous act of CD. Civil disobedience enfranchised me and my sisters and gave workers the right to unionize. Civil disobedience ended "equal but separate" also in the South and ended another illegal, immoral, incompetent and insane occupation of Vietnam. Many people in these struggles lost their lives, fortunes, homes, families and/or security.
No one is asking anyone for the same kind of sacrifice. But it is time to honor the courageous campaigners of our past by being at least as courageous.
No one should've stood by and watch the Rev get beat down and no one should idly stand by and watch our elected representatives destroy our representative Republic and replace it with corporate and military fascism.